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A School of the Sacred Heart

Our Centennial Year

Welcome to our 100 year anniversary

In celebrating 100 years, we took pride in the remarkable successes of our IJʿ community.

Our focused goal for the 2020 Centennial year was; Building community as a Christian value. Students, past and present staff, current and past parents, Alumnae, and friends associated with IJʿ were an integral part of our community and ensured the spirit and values of St. Madeline Sophie Barat were lived over the past 100 years.

During 2020, we invited you to reconnect with the school and join our Centennial celebrations.

Message from Sister Rita Carroll RSCJ

The opening of Stuartholme’s Centenary year has been marked by the tragedy of fire destroying so many parts of our country. The media has exposed us to scenes of devastation and the loss of life and property which have touched our hearts. Australians, and indeed people from all over the world, have responded with generosity in order to help those affected by the fire to rebuild their lives. The fires have brought out the best of our nation’s community spirit as we seek to rebuild all that was lost.

Two hundred and twenty years ago Sophie Barat also faced a devastated country at the end of the French Revolution. She, too, wished to contribute to the rebuilding of France and chose to do it through the education of girls. As a child, Sophie would tell people that she had been brought into the world by fire. Her mother had been frightened into giving birth prematurely by a fire that destroyed many houses in the village. Sophie grew up to become a woman of fire, the type of fire that Jesus said of it “I came to cast Fire on the earth.” (Luke 12:49).

Like many of Stuartholme’s boarders, Sophie grew up in a small town, Joigny, in the French countryside. The village was surrounded by vineyards and they were one of the influences on Sophie’s life. Her childhood among the vineyards gave Sophie a deep understanding of the words of Jesus,“I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.” (John15:5) When Sophie began her first school in Amiens it was to be a place where all would grow to have “One mind and one heart in the Heart of Jesus”.

One hundred years ago, when our foundresses arrived on the property of Stuartholme they had to virtually carve a school out of the Australian bush. No doubt it was a challenge to the French Sisters who were among the foundresses to find themselves in such pioneering circumstances so far removed from the refinements of Europe which they had left behind in establishing Stuartholme. The Sisters combined Sophie’s legacy of revealing the love of God for each one through the education of young women with the courage, strength, creativity and determination of Philippine to plant this vision in the New World.

The school has grown and flourished over the years and the spirit of “Cor Unum” embedded and fostered by our founding Sisters and students has continued to be cherished in daily life and through times of struggle and celebration. My first introduction to Stuartholme was as a five year old when I came with my mother to enrol my elder sister, Pauline. It is rather daunting to think that I have been involved with Stuartholme in some way for seventy of its hundred years. When I was a student there were still Alumnae and Sisters who remembered the days of the two cottages in the bush where the first six students lived and learned. Stories of the War Years and the evacuation to Canungra and Southport were still fresh in people’s memories. Since those days, like Philippine, we have constantly been challenged to adapt and change our education to meet the new world with its ever-changing horizons.

To meet the needs of an ever evolving world, Sophie Barat’s vision of education, first outlined in her “Plan of Studies”, was revised many times up until 1957 when the diversity of cultures and national curricula of Sacred Heart Schools around the world necessitated changes in approach. Today the philosophy of Sacred Heart Education is summarized in the Five Goals so well known in all our schools. They have proved a sure guide for Stuartholme as we approached our centenary and will be our compass as we move into the future.

Our country has faced a physical fire that has brought our nation together and strengthened our community spirit. At Stuartholme our spirit of “Cor Unum” has stood the test of time, the fire that brings us together is a fire that burns in our hearts and will continue to stay alight as long as our community continues to remember and live by the words of Jesus: “I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.”

Message from the Principal

2020 marks a significant anniversary for IJʿ as we celebrate and acknowledge 100 years of educating girls as a Sacred Heart School.

The IJʿ community exists today for the same reason it did 100 years ago. The charism of our Sacred Heart Education Philosophy is to discover and make known the love of God and reveal it to the world through the service of education.

In 2020 it is fitting that we reflect on our focus goal for the year “Building community as a Christian value”. IJʿ’s most treasured quality is the sense of belonging each member of our community feels.

The Sacred Heart expression “Come as you are, and you will be cared for with great love” is practiced each and every day at Stuartholme. We do not have a mould nor a stereotype. Students, parents, staff and alumnae are genuinely accepted for they who they are, and we value their unique gifts and talents.

These values are fundamental to our community and this sense of belonging empowers and energises us. We are a community full of intelligence, warmth and compassion – we are united in our spirit.

We want to make our 100th year the best it can be and nurture and grow the Stuartholme legacy for those who will join us now and in the future.

We encourage our current community to reflect on your connection with Stuartholme and share your stories with us in this exciting year of celebration.

You can take home your own piece of Stuartholme memorabilia with our book “Celebrating 100 years” which is a reflection on the history and spirit of Stuartholme from its humble beginnings, through to the school we know and love today.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank all the members of our community, together you make Stuartholme what it is today, and I look forward to seeing you all, celebrating this strong sense of community in 2020 and into our next 100 years.

Kristen Sharpe


Centennial Book for Sale

To commemorate our centenary in 2020 Stuartholme invites you to purchase our ‘Celebrating 100 years’ book.

This beautiful limited edition hardcover book follows the history of Stuartholme from humble beginnings, through to the school we know and love today.

Pre-order sales are now being taken at an early bird price of $69.95 (plus postage if needed). Official price will be $89.95 (plus postage if needed).

Orders will be shipped in May, 2020.

Purchase Book


Our Centennial year memorabilia is now available to purchase. Grab yourself a beautiful memento and piece of Stuartholme history today!

Purchase Memorabilia

Enrolling at Stuartholme

Acknowledgment of First Peoples:
© IJʿ 2024